The name of Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance (SHAG) week will be changed this year due to concerns over student engagement.
SHAG Week has served as the name of the Students’ Association sexual health week for several years and is also a popular acronym at several other universities
Confirming to The Saint that the name of SHAG week would be changed to Sexual Health Awareness Week, the Students’ Association Wellbeing Officer Holly Johnston said “engagement at St Andrews has been dropping for consecutive campaigns.
“Attempts to make the events more light-hearted have not succeeded in bringing in more students, and instead the educational purpose of the campaign has been somewhat lost.”
Going on, Ms Johnston said that the previous year’s Wellbeing subcommittee recommended the change “to ensure attendance will rise again.”
Ms Johnston went on to add, “There was a consensus that S.H.A.G. week currently only attracts students who are already sexually empowered enough to embrace the casual nature of the term SHAG, while those who have not received much sexual health education at school or those who perceive the term as immature do not want to be associated with its events.”
This was confirmed by a member of the Wellbeing committee who told The Saint that this year’s committee was worried the name was alienating students.
The member also said that the decision was taken because it was “putting off certain societies from getting involved,” though they did not say which societies had expressed concern.
The member also said that a suggested replacement name was Sexual Advice For Everyone (SAFE) week, though Ms Johnston said that this would not be the final name.
On the topic of the content of the week, Ms Johnston said, “the 2016 Sexual Health Week will primarily focus on educational talks which can be stored online to be viewed by those who feel uncomfortable attending events in person.
“The sexual health packs provided by the Wellbeing committee will continue, and we will attempt to re-run popular events such as the discussion of kink hosted by Mistress Megara last year.
“The aim of rebranding is not to make the week more uptight and less diverse, but instead to ensure that students of all ages and backgrounds feel comfortable learning more about their bodies, their relationships and how to practice safe sex.”
Director of Representation, Jack Carr said, “Changing to Sexual Health Awareness Week is in order to bring the branding of the week in line with other wellbeing events, such as mental health awareness week. SAFE week was touted but rejected on the basis we don’t need to replace one forced acronym with another.”
Going on, Mr Carr confirmed that some groups had been put off by the name ‘SHAG Week’, saying “We have in the past been unable to organise events with external health and professional groups on the basis that they do not want to be associated with the SHAG week branding, which they see as unhelpful and counterproductive.
“Therefore continuing to use the previous branding would prevent student access to useful resources and expertise.”